Advertisement

Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 155–169 | Cite as

Perspectives of Key Informants on Child Abuse: Qualitative Evidence from Northern Ghana

  • Mavis Dako-GyekeEmail author
Article
  • 145 Downloads

Abstract

Drawing on Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, this study aimed to explore key informants’ views about child abuse. Using a qualitative research design, thirty key informants participated in the study. Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and In-depth Interviews (IDIs) were conducted to gather data, which were analyzed thematically. The findings of the study indicated that children were discouraged from being assertive. Also, it was found that key informants had knowledge of child abuse, the variant types, as well as perpetrators and victims of child abuse. Furthermore, different factors (poverty, cultural and religious beliefs, ignorance of child protection laws, among others) were described by key informants as underpinning the occurrence of child abuse. Moreover, evidence showed that generally, child abuse cases were not reported due to barriers, such as concerns about consequences of reporting, poverty, family ties, stigmatization and unavailability or lack of support systems. Based on the findings of the study, conclusions were drawn and implications discussed.

Keywords

Ghana Abuse Children Protection Physical Psychological/verbal Sexual 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This project was made possible with financial support from the UNDP Country Programme for Ghana. Also, appreciation is expressed to key informants who participated in this study, as well as the research assistant.

Funding

This research was supported by the UNDP Country Programme for Ghana. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the author and do not represent the official position of the UNDP.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Participation in the study was voluntary and informed consent was obtained from participants. Also, participants were informed about the purpose of the study and were informed that they could withdraw from the study at any time and could stop responding to any question they felt uncomfortable with. Information obtained from participants was anonymized and confidentiality was assured throughout the data collection process.

References

  1. Admassu, F., Nida, H., Belachew, T., & Haileamlak, A. (2006). Children’s rights and corporal punishment in Assendabo town and the surrounding area, South West Ethiopia. Ethiopian Medical Journal, 44(1), 9–16.Google Scholar
  2. Agathonos-Georgopoulou, H. (1992). Cross-cultural perspectives in child abuse and neglect. Child Abuse Review, 1(2), 80–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Algood, C. L., Hong, J. S., Gourdine, R. M., & Williams, A. B. (2011). Maltreatment of children with developmental disabilities: An ecological systems analysis. Children and Youth Services Review, 33, 1142–1148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ame, R. (2012). Children’s rights, controversial traditional practices and the Trokosi system: A critical socio-legal perspective. In R. K. Ame, D. L. Agbenyiga & N. A. Apt (Eds.), Children’s rights in Ghana: Reality or rhetoric? London: Mot Juste Limited.Google Scholar
  5. Asante, R., & Gyimah-Boadi, E. (2004). Ethnic structure, inequality and governance of the public sector in Ghana. New York: United Nations Research Institute for Social Development.Google Scholar
  6. Badoe, E. (2017). A critical review of child abuse and its management in Africa. African Journal of Emergency Medicine, 7, 32–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baffoe, M., & Dako-Gyeke, M. (2013). Social problems and social work in Ghana: Implications for sustainable development. International Journal of Development and Sustainability. 2(1), 347–363.Google Scholar
  8. Banda, J., & Agyapong, P. (2016). An agenda for harmful cultural practices and girls’ empowerment. Retrieved on June 02, 2018 from https://www.cgdev.org/publication/agendaharmfulculturalpracticesandgirlsem powerment.
  9. Bhana, D. (2012). “Girls are not free”: In and out of the South African school. International Journal of Educational Development, 32(2), 352–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Black, D. A., Smith, A. M., & Heyman, R. E. (2001). Risk factors for psychological abuse. Aggression Violent Behavior, 6, 189–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Boakye, K. (2009). Culture and nondisclosure of child sexual abuse in Ghana: A theoretical and empirical exploration. Law & Social Inquiry, 34(4), 951–979.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Böhm, B. (2017). “She got spoilt”: Perceptions of victims of child sexual abuse in Ghana. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, 26(7), 818–838.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Borg, K., Snowden, C., & Hodes, D. (2014). Child sexual abuse: Recognition and response where there is a suspicion or allegation. Paediatric Child Health, 24(12), 536–543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bornstein, B. H., Kaplan, D. L., & Perry, A. R. (2007). Child abuse in the eyes of the beholder: Lay perceptions of child sexual and physical abuse. Child Abuse & Neglect, 31(4), 375–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bromfield, L., & Higgins, D. (2005). Chronic and isolated maltreatment in a child protection sample. Family Matters, 70, 38–45.Google Scholar
  16. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1976). The experimental ecology of education. Educational Researcher., 5(5), 5–15.Google Scholar
  17. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American Psychologist, 32(7), 515–531.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The ecology of human development: Experiments by nature and design. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994). Ecological models of human development. In T. Husen & T. N. Postlethwaite (Eds.), International encyclopedia of education (pp. 1643–1647). Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  20. Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In W. Damon & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology (pp. 793–828). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  21. Brooker, E. (1996). Slaves of the fetish. New England International and Comparative Law Annual, 4, 53–72.Google Scholar
  22. Coker-Appiah, D., & Cusack, K. (1999). Violence against women and children in Ghana: Breaking the silence, challenging the myths and building support. Accra: Gender Studies and Human Rights Centre.Google Scholar
  23. Collin, M., & Talbot, T. (2014). Does banning child marriage really work? Retrieved May 24, 2018 from https://www.cgdev.org/blog/does-banning-child-marriage-really-work.
  24. Creswell, J. (2012). Educational research. Boston: Pearson.Google Scholar
  25. D’Antonio, I. J., Darwish, A. M., & McLean, M. (1993). Child maltreatment: International perspectives. Maternal-Child Nursing Journal, 21, 39–52.Google Scholar
  26. Dako-Gyeke, M. (2018). Courtesy stigma: A concealed consternation among caregivers of people affected by leprosy. Social Science & Medicine, 196, 190–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dako-Gyeke, M., & Oduro, R. (2013). Effects of household size on cash transfer utilization for orphans and vulnerable children in rural Ghana. Academic Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 2(1), 239–251.Google Scholar
  28. Doidge, J. C., Higgins, D. J., Delfabbro, P., Edwards, B., Vassallo, S., Toumbourou, J. W., & Segal, L. (2017). Economic predictors of child maltreatment in an Australian population-based birth cohort. Children and Youth Services Review, 72, 14–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Downs, S. W., Moore, E., McFadden, E. J., Michaud, S. M., & Costin, L. B. (2004). Child welfare and family services: Policies and practice. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.Google Scholar
  30. Ferrari, A. M. (2002). The impact of culture upon child rearing practices and definitions of maltreatment. Child Abuse & Neglect, 26(8), 793–813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Finkelhor, D., Turner, H. A., Shattuck, A., & Hamby, S. L. (2013). Violence, crime and abuse exposure in a national sample of children and youth: An update. JAMA Pediatrics, 167(7), 614–621.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gadzekpo, A. (1993). Sexual bondage. AWO, 5, 5–7.Google Scholar
  33. Gelles, R. J. (2000). Estimating the incidence and prevalence of violence against women: National data systems and sources. Violence Against Women, 6(7), 784–804.Google Scholar
  34. Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) & Macro International Inc. (MI). (1999). Ghana demographic and health survey 1998. Calverton, MD: GSS and MI.Google Scholar
  35. Ghana Statistical Service. (2002). 2000 Population and housing census: Summary report of final results. Accra, Ghana: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  36. Ghana Statistical Service. (2012). 2010 population and housing census, summary report of final results. Accra.Google Scholar
  37. Ghana Statistical Service. (2014). Ghana Living Standards Survey Round 6 (GLSS6): Child labour report. Accra: Ghana Statistical Service.Google Scholar
  38. Gibson, B., & Mykitiuk, R. (2012). Health care access and support for disabled women in Canada: Falling short of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities: A qualitative study. Women’s Health Issues, 22(1), 111–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice.Google Scholar
  40. Government of Ghana. (2015). Situational analysis and major issues: Spatial development framework for the northern savannah ecological zone (2015–2035). Retrieved on February 22, 2017, from http://www.townplanning.gov.gh/files/Volume%20I%20Final%20SDF%20for %20N SEZ%20.pdf.
  41. Guest, G., Bunce, A., & Johnson, L. (2006). How many interviews are enough? An experiment with data saturation and variability. Field Methods, 18(1), 59–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hamenoo, E. S., & Sottie, C. A. (2015). Stories from Lake Volta: The lived experiences of trafficked children in Ghana. Child Abuse Neglect, 40, 103–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Henry, C. S., Stephenson, A. L., Hanson, M. F., & Hargett, W. (1993). Adolescent suicide and families: an ecological approach. Adolescence, 28(110), 291–308.Google Scholar
  44. Hibbard, R., Barlow, J., & MacMillan, H. (2012). The Committee on child abuse and neglect and the American academy of child and adolescent psychiatry, child maltreatment and violence committee. Psychological Maltreatment, Pediatrics., 130(20), 372–378.Google Scholar
  45. Hunter, W. M. (2000). Risk factors for severe child discipline practices in rural India. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 25, 435–447.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Janssen, T. L., van Dijk, M., Al Malki, I., & van As, A. B. (2013). Management of physical child abuse in South Africa: Literature review and children’s hospital data analysis. Paediatrics and International Child Health, 33(4), 216–227.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kenny, M. C. (2001). Child abuse reporting: Teachers’ perceived deterrents. Child Abuse Neglect, 25(1), 81–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kitchin, R., & Tate, N., J (2000). Conducting research into human geography: Theory, methodology and practice. Harlow: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  49. Lansford, J. E., Alampay, L. P., Al-Hassan, S., Bacchini, D., Bombi, A. S., Bornstein, M. H., … Zelli, A. (2010). Corporal punishment of children in nine countries as a function of child gender and parent gender. International Journal of Pediatrics, 2010, 672–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Laird, S. (2002). The 1998 children’s act: Problems of enforcement in Ghana. British Journal of Social Work, 32, 893–905.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Legard, R., Keegan, J., & Ward, K. (2003). In-depth interviews. In J. Ritchie & J. Lewis (Eds.), Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (pp. 138–169). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  52. Liao, M., & Hong, J. S. (2010). Child labor in the people’s republic of China: An ecological systems analysis. International Social Work, 54(4), 565–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lincoln, Y. S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. Newbury Park: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lazenbatt, A. (2010). Safeguarding children and public health: Midwives’ responsibilities. Perspectives in Public Health, 130(3), 118–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Levi, B. H., & Crowell, K. (2011). Child abuse experts disagree about the threshold for mandated reporting. Clinical Pediatrician, 50(4), 321–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lewis, J., & Ritchie, J. (2003). Generalising from qualitative research. In J. Ritchie & J. Lewis (Eds.), Qualitative research practice: A guide for social science students and researchers (pp. 263–286). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  57. Lynne, E. G., Gifford, E. J., Evans, K. E., & Rosch, J. B. (2015). Barriers to reporting child maltreatment: Do emergency medical services professionals fully understand their role as mandatory reporters? North Carolina Medical Journal, 6(1), 13–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Madu, S. N., & Peltzer, K. (2000). Risk factors and child sexual abuse among secondary students in the Northern Province (South Africa). Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 259–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Maguire-Jack, K., & Font, S. A. (2017). Intersections of individual and neighborhood disadvantage: Implications for child maltreatment. Children and Youth Services Review, 72, 44–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. May-Chahal, C. (2006). Gender and child maltreatment: The evidence base. Social work and Society, 4(1), 53–68.Google Scholar
  61. Miller-Perrin, C., & Perrin, R. D. (2012). Child maltreatment: An introduction. Boston: Sage.Google Scholar
  62. Müller, C., Tranchant, J., & Oosterhoff, P. (2016). Domestic violence and violence against children in Ghana 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2017, from https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/79534/1/MPRA_paper_79534.pdf.
  63. Mutavi, T., Obondo, A., Mathai, M., Kokonya, D., & Dako-Gyeke, M. (2018). Incidence of self- esteem among children exposed to sexual abuse in Kenya. Global Social Welfare, 5(1), 39–47.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s40609-017-0107-3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Miles, M. B., & Huberman, A. M. (1994). Qualitative data analysis: An expanded sourcebook. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  65. Nadan, Y., Spilsbury, J. C., & Korbin, J. E. (2015). Culture and context in understanding child maltreatment: Contributions of intersectionality and neighborhood-based research. Child Abuse & Neglect, 41, 40–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Olsson, A., et al. (2000). Sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence among Nicaraguan men and women: A population-based anonymous survey. Child Abuse & Neglect, 24, 1579–1589.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Ofosu-Kusi, Y. (2017). Introduction: Children’s agency and development in African societies. In Y. Ofosu-Kusi (Ed.), Children’s agency and development in African societies (pp. 1–14). Dakar: CODESRIA.Google Scholar
  68. Pelton, L. H. (2015). The continuing role of material factors in child maltreatment and placement. Child Abuse & Neglect, 41, 30–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Price-Robertson, R. (2012). Child sexual abuse, masculinity and fatherhood. Journal of Family Studies, 18(2–3), 130–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Phillips, R., Benoit, C., Hallgrimsdottir, H., & Vallance, K. (2012). Courtesy stigma: A hidden health concern among front-line service providers to sex workers. Sociology of Health & Illness., 34(5), 681–696.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Pittenger, S. L., Huit, T. Z., & Hansen, D. J. (2016). Applying ecological systems theory to sexual revictimization of youth: A review with implications for research and practice. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 26, 35–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Richter, L., & Higson-Smith, C. (2004). The many kinds of sexual abuse of young children. In L. Richter, A. Dawes & C. Higson-Smith (Eds.), Sexual abuse of young children in Southern Africa. Capetown: HSRC Press.Google Scholar
  73. Rizvi, S. F. I., & Najam, N. (2014). Parental psychological abuse toward children and mental health problems in adolescence. Pakistan Journal of Medical Sciences, 30(2), 256–260.Google Scholar
  74. Ronan, D., Wattam, C., Ikeda, R., Hassan, F., & Ramiro, L. (2002). Child abuse and neglect by parents and other caregivers. In E. G. Krug, L. L. Dahlberg, J. A. Mercy, A. B. Zwi & R. Lozano (Eds.), World report on violence and health. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  75. Ryan, G. (1997). Sexually abusive youth: Defining the population. In G. Ryan & S. Lane (Eds.), Juvenile sexual offending: Causes, consequences, and correction (pp. 3–9). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  76. Sargeant, J. (2012). Qualitative research part II: Participants, analysis, and quality assurance. Journal of Graduate Medical Education, 4(1), 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Shaffer, A., Yates, T. M., & Egeland, B. R. (2009). The relation of emotional maltreatment to early adolescent competence: Developmental processes in a prospective study. Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 36–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Silverman, D. (2011). Qualitative research (3rd ed.). London: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  79. Sossou, M. A., & Yogtiba, J. A. (2009). Abuse of children in West Africa: Implications for social work education and practice. The British Journal of Social Work, 39(7), 1218–1234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Sprang, G., Clark, J. J., & Bass, S. (2005). Factors that contribute to child maltreatment severity: A multi-method and multidimensional investigation. Child Abuse & Neglect, 29, 335–350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Trickett, P. K., Mennen, F. E., Kim, K., & Sang, J. (2009). Emotional abuse in a sample of multiply maltreated urban adolescents: Issues of definition and identification. Child Abuse and Neglect, 33(1), 27–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. UNICEF & UIS. (2012). Global initiative on out-of-school children—Ghana country study. Accra: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  83. UNICEF. (2013). Advocating for development that leaves no child behind. Retrieved on November 02, from https://www.unicef.org/ghana/Ghana_Booklet_Final.pdf.
  84. UNICEF. (2014). Child protection baseline research report. Accra: UNICEF.Google Scholar
  85. United Nations Development Programme, Ghana. (2007). Ghana human development report. Ghana: United Nations Development Programme.Google Scholar
  86. World Bank. (n. d.). Improving women’s lives: Progress and obstacles. Retrieved December 03, 2017, from http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTGENDER/Resources/Chapter2.pdf.
  87. World Health Organization. (1999). Report of the consultation on child abuse prevention, 29–31 March 1999. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar
  88. World Health Organization and International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect. (2006). Preventing child maltreatment: A guide to taking action and generating evidence. Geneva: WHO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social WorkUniversity of GhanaAccraGhana

Personalised recommendations